Friday, February 09, 2007

The Real Deal

I almost forgot that today is Jesus Freak Friday!!!
The Real Deal
Most people have had happy times in their lives. And many would describe themselves as basically happy individuals. But did you know there’s a big difference between happiness and joy? Happiness is a feel-good feeling. It ebbs and flows with the circumstances of our lives. We land that job we’ve been trying so hard for. But then . . . A close friend gets killed by a drunken driver. Often our happiness depends on how we’re treated by those around us. She loves me, she loves me not! He wants me, he wants me not! No wonder happiness is such an elusive thing. Just when we think we have it in our grasp, it slips through our fingers.

Joy, on the other hand, is a deep sense of peace and well-being that lives in our spirit. True joy—the kind that comes only from God—doesn’t come and go. It lodges within us and holds us steady on our course. It’s our "true north" as we navigate through life.

Happiness shows on a face, but joy emanates from the spirit. You can see it in a Jesus Freak’s eyes, since eyes are the window of the soul.

On the night of January 6, 1850, a blizzard hit England, causing a young man named Charles to duck into a tiny church close to his home rather than venture out to the church he usually attended. Inside, a handful of people stood around the stove, huddling close for warmth. A man read from Isaiah 45:22—"Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth"—and the words found their mark on at least one person that night. When the tiny gathering broke up, the young man headed for home, his heart blazing with a strange new fire.

Years later, the young man—now the great preacher Charles Spurgeon—wrote, "As the snow fell on my road home from the little house of prayer, I thought every snowflake talked with me and told of the pardon I had found." When he stepped through the door, his mother saw his countenance and said, "Something wonderful has happened to you!"

Jesus Freaks can’t keep their joy hidden.

You are the light of the world—like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. Don’t hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Matthew 5:14-16
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